MRI is best at investigating chest pain

19th May 2016

MRI is the best way to diagnose high risk patients with chest pain, according to a five-year-long British research project reported earlier this week.

Researchers at Leeds University studied outcomes for around 750 patients, comparing scanning with MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) with the results of the SPECT procedure.

Both techniques show 3-D images and slices of the heart, but MRI shows the structure of the heart, whereas SPECT shows how blood flows to the heart.

Reporting in the Annals of Internal Medicine, the researchers said that cardiac MRI proved the best procedure to predict serious heart events.

They concluded it was the “safest and most effective” way to identify high risk patients with cardiac chest pain.

Researcher Professor John Greenwood said: “The outcomes of this study could lead to changes in clinical guidelines and to the way doctors investigate chest pain due to suspected heart disease.

“Although SPECT is currently more widely available than MRI, the use of MRI across a wide spectrum of diseases means that it will be much more readily available for heart disease investigation in coming years.

“The benefits of cardiac MRI are not limited to reducing exposure to ionising radiation.

“The non-invasive cardiac MRI test, which is not only more diagnostically accurate and cost effective for the NHS than SPECT, is also potentially better at forecasting the outcome of the disease.”

For more details, see here